Albany, NY — The Climate Action Council is leaving New Yorkers in the dark when it comes to their far-reaching Climate Act, according to testimony by James Hanley, senior policy analyst at the Empire Center for Public Policy. 

Hanley submitted testimony to the Climate Action Council (CAC) on the Draft Scoping Plan for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). In this testimony, Hanley compares the costs and benefits of the CLCPA, and warns of the negative impacts the CLCPA will have on resource reliability on the New York electrical grid. 

“The Scoping Plan fails to be forthright concerning the relative costs and benefits to New Yorkers of the Climate Leadership and Protection Act—all the costs fall on New Yorkers, while they receive only a portion of the benefits,” Hanley says in his testimony, which asserts that the CAC has not correctly identified many of the costs of the CLCPA—or communicated these costs with New Yorkers.

“The CAC has declined to estimate how the costs will be apportioned among the citizens of New York. Of particular interest is what the effect will be on energy prices. High energy costs are a burden on poor and elderly citizens, but the Council has chosen to ignore that element of a just transition in the Scoping Plan. Shockingly, the answer seems to be that we’ll only get around to figuring out that cost after we’ve committed New Yorkers to bearing it.”

On risks to grid reliability, Hanley is equally critical.

“New York cannot afford such reckless decision-making. Planning must account not just for the best-case scenario where sufficient wind and sunshine serve to provide enough energy to meet demand, perhaps with assistance from batteries during peak demand and morning ramp-up periods. The state must plan for the worst-case scenario as well. This is especially so as electrification shifts the annual peak from summer to winter, making winter blackouts from excessive demand more likely.

Mr. Hanley concludes his testimony with a list of recommendations for improvement to the CLCPA, including: a more honest benefit cost analyses; building energy sources in addition to, not in place of, natural gas; maintaining present energy systems; and prioritizing New Yorkers’ well-being.

The full testimony can be read here. Hanley is scheduled to deliver his remarks at the Climate Action Council’s April 14th meeting. You can find more information on how to view the meeting here. Pre-registration is required.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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